'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'
Swithin (also written as Swithun) was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester famous for his charitable gifts and building of churches.
Legend has it that as he lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried out of doors (as opposed to in a church) where he would be walked and rained upon. For some nine years his wishes were followed, but then, on the 15th of July (971), the monks of Winchester attempted to remove his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral.
During this removal, it is said, that there was a heavy storm which led to the 'old wives' tale (folklore) that if it rains on St. Swithin's Day (July 15th), it will rain for the next 40 days in succession whereas, if it is fine, it will be followed by 40 days of fine weather.
According to the MET OFFICE, this is nothing more than an old wives tale. Put to the 'test' on, no less than, 55 occasions, when it has been wet on July 15th and 40 days of rain did not follow.
But what about the apples associated with Saint Swithin?
Believed to be a keen grower of apple trees, there is an old saying that when it rains on St Swithin's day, it is the saint christening the apples.
Apple growers ask St. Swithin for his blessing each year as they believe:-
Rain on St. Swithin's day 'blesses and christens the apples'.
No apple should picked or eaten before July 15th.
Apples still growing at St Swithin's day will ripen fully.
READ MORE about Swithin.